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Citizens panel to aid city in addressing housing shortage

Original post made on Mar 11, 2014

Faced with state mandates and market pressures to build more housing, Palo Alto officials are considering a wide range of options -- from city-owned parking lots to the sprawling site of Fry's Electronics -- to address the city's severe shortage.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 9:46 PM

Comments (66)

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Posted by B
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Why does the Association of Bay Area Governments think it can tell us what to do? Do they tell Atherton they have to add on additional housing? Or Los Altos Hills? We are maxed out with adding more housing. What about the infrastructure? What will be the effect on the schools, sewage, roadways, etc if we keep adding more housing? Why should we keep adding more housing if we don't want to? If we had the space I would say fine but we are maxed out!


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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 11, 2014 at 11:05 pm

This will be the final nail in the coffin for Palo Alto. There needs to be a completely unified fight against ABAG, along with like minded cities, or you might as well get out now while home values are high.


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Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:31 am

"369 new units"

Why do those units have to be new? We have over 400 residents at Buena Vista and no incentives to save their housing. The incentives go to developers to raze the affordable housing, evict the residents, and then use density bonus incentives to put in new, expensive units with just a fraction of the below-market-rate housing. None of those units will be affordable to the people who were evicted. But of course the City and State don't care, they just continue with the push for density.

B is right, this is an unfunded mandate. We should be suing the state back - if they want to force us to so wholly change the character of our area, they should pay for all the consequences. They should pay for the transportation systems we need in order to get people to their jobs because just locating them within a town's borders a) doesn't guarantee they will work in that town (since our town is so popular for its schools) and b) that they can take alternative transportation that doesn't exist.

What happens when this latest boom subsides? Transportation solutions are more flexible anyway, especially with new technology.

We should petition the state to allow us to count saving the residents at BV toward our allotment.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 1:24 am

Is this another joke? What do any of these people know about housing in Palo Alto? Carrasco is an architect builder--whose main expertise is in commercial buildings. The other people named are not builders, nor are they owners of a lot of residential properties.

What good is this large planning department if it can't do the job that it is being paid to do?


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:22 am

"Our housing and neighborhoods shall enhance the livable human environment for all residents, be accessible to civic and community services and sustain our natural resources."

Is that still the Housing Element vision statement? I'd like to see definitions of "enhance", "livable", and "sustain".


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:43 am

Tony Carrasco is very pro-high speed rail, which shows how his thinking is aligned. and Greg Tanaka voted for all the high density project which has caused the citizens to be alarmed over the direction Palo Alto is going.

Is Bob Moss, or some of the others who opposed Measure D on this committee?


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Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:47 am

Could someone explain why the state housing element requirement for economiccly diverse housing is different for a city like Los Altos Hills versus Palo Alto? Thank you!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 7:15 am

Something is wrong here. We are supposed to be providing new homes for low income people and yet we are evicting low income people at BV to provide luxury housing. It would make a lot more sense to me if we put in the low income housing at BV and allowed those people already living there to remain in the neighborhood.


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Posted by Sally
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 7:48 am

How can the residents become organized against this nonsense?!


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:40 am

Water. WATER. Yes, that's right, water. We can keep shoving more and more people into a finite about of land, but there will be no water for them. And no parking spaces. And no blacktop space on the roads. And no space for their kids in their neighborhood school. And .... do I really need to keep going? Time to tell ABAG and all other pro-density supporters to SHOVE IT.


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Posted by Ardennes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:42 am

If there is no more room to improve and expand the infrastructure--streets, roads, and highways-- how can we add more housing? How can major thoroughfares be widened to accommodate all the traffic this will create if there is absolutely no space for widening them? I am talking about Alma, Middlefield, Embarcadero, and Oregon, etc.

The simple solution to ABAG's requirements is to simply save Buena Vista. It is NOT an eyesore, it is well-kept, and chances are any housing project that Ken Hayes has his hand in WILL be an eyesore!

Speaking of Ken Hayes, the city should sue him to force him to return the money he made for that horrible eyesore at 801 Alma!


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

This City is so far off track it is shocking. The City has no understanding,
no concern, no policies, no enforcement of anything to do with maintaining
attractive, livable neighborhoods. This is true as the ripple effects from the massive office over-development continue to create unmanageable impacts across the entire City. This is where we are in Palo Alto.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

@Christopher Chang - the state housing requirements are based on the jobs in a City. Los Altos Hills, Atherton and Portola Valley have very few businesses, therefore they aren't required to plan housing.

I really wish that the "regional" housing elements were truly regional and the jobs that are in Palo Alto and Menlo Park we're considered part of a "region" that included Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Portola Valley - if the CEO of a company can live in a town, some of the employees should too.

@Ardeness - Since Buena Vista is existing housing, I don't think saving it affects the ABAG numbers.

Most important to remember about the Housing Element - it is a PLAN, we are NOT required to actually build the units.


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Posted by ThumbsDown
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:10 am

We are MAXED out! The quality of life is plummeting and the city has bit off more than it can chew. It's a mess and the city council doesn't seem to address the root of any problem. It's "patchwork" Palo Alto at its finest.


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Posted by Does anyone ever listen
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:50 am

Fight ABAG. We do not need more housing in Palo Alto-- we are already built too densely with associated traffic nightmares. Do Palo Alto citizens and (massive) taxpayers control our own city or are we at the mercy of bureaucrats and out-of-towners? I see sensible comments above me from numerous other Palo Altans and nobody seems to be in support for the ABAG mandate.

Will our government listen?


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Posted by It's time for lawsuits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:55 am

"Failure to comply will leave the city liable to lawsuits and ineligible for housing grants, Planning Director Hillary Gitelman said Tuesday.

For starters, why do we want grants for additional housing, which cost the town even more in livability? The grants don't pay for schools, roads, etc. The grants only subsidize developers. Please, leave the grants on the table. Can we pay them to go away instead? Help other communities to "thrive" instead.

Worst case scenario

"The city would also be required to update its Housing Element every four years, rather than every eight. It can also, in the worst case scenario, lose local control over planning matters such as issuing of permits."


Any lawyers out there?

What law allowed ABAG to exist in the first place? Their entire count and argument on housing near jobs is flawed, and it is not a regional solution at all. It puts undue burden on one town. If state hijacking of the permit process could happen to Palo Alto, it could happen to another town near you.

The ABAG "law" needs to change if this is the corrupt deal it intended, to take ownership of a community which is generating jobs. Would they rather the town invent some wacky law in return, to prevent jobs from happening here?

As Grenacres points out and B "this is an unfunded mandate. We should be suing the state back - if they want to force us to so wholly change the character of our area, they should pay for all the consequences. They should pay for the transportation systems we need in order to get people to their jobs because just locating them within a town's borders a) doesn't guarantee they will work in that town (since our town is so popular for its schools) and b) that they can take alternative transportation that doesn't exist."

A lawsuit would have to enforce state funding for the mandate. Until the money is in the bank, Palo Alto would not need to do anything.

Has anyone seen pictures of what SV would look like if it added a home for every job? It's 50 New York Cities. Not even NY has such a dumb law.

If anyone knows of a citizen lawsuit against ABAG and the state over this joke of a law, please inform.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

Perhaps these citizens should talk to the school board and tell them about this proposal.

The school board just vetoed the idea of opening a new school. There will be nowhere to school the residents of these homes.

Perhaps the right hand should talk to the left hand.

Whoever said that the City and Schools should be run separately are a load of imbeciles? This is preposterous.


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Posted by It's time for lawsuits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:03 am

By the way, if Palo Alto does not keep count of jobs it "generates," what numbers is ABAG using?

And what happened to the option of paying a fine? I thought I once heard Greg Scharff campaign on that option.

Is a fine an option?




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Posted by Marty
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:52 am

This is pretty scary. MORE thee and four story condo buildings built right out to the side walk! So very urban. How about revisiting granny units that don't change the visual character of the town? No more prison buildings like the one at Homer and Alma PLEASE! Who is minding the store?


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:01 am

A fair way to settle this and for Palo Alto to not have to allow more housing to be built? Just take the revenues from the business taxes and send them to the cities that actually house the workers. Or do you want to have your cake and eat it too?


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Posted by Gwen Luce
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:13 am

Please provide a list of whom is on the citizen's advisory committee


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Posted by Neighbor/Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:18 am

This is rather ridiculous. Let's bag BAG! The reason Palo Alto can support the high cost of housing for rentals and ownership is because it is not Manhattan. Will the state government decide who has a backyard that is too big, demand the property be turned over to low cost housing? This city is going to lost everything that made it attractive in which to buy multi-million dollar homes. Why force BV residents to move, pay more for housing, pull their children out of PAUSD and then demand the rest of us to move over and build low cost/senior housing. Palo Alto and other cities in the bay area that are being forced to develop already used land into affordable housing ought to sue the state government for such housing demands. JUST SAY NO!


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:19 am

Another reason to fight ABAG - unfunded mandates. They demand housing increases, but they do not provide any funding to build the additional infrastructure capacity - storm drains, sewers, fresh water, electricity, refuse disposal, recycling, etc.

And as pointed out above - where exactly is the additional needs for fresh/safe water going to come from under the extended drought conditions we face throughout the state?


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Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

Thank Goodness for the plan to build housing, and especially for the low income units! Can the caring and liberal minded be as vocal as the libertarian 'I got miner's'?


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Posted by HereWeGoAgain
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:54 am

Affordable housing in Palo Alto - what we are smoking here?

We approve more office space (Hey, Let be the StartUp Incubator Town - How about South of California Avenue - WhaHOO!) - so more folks need to come here to work - so, Golly, we need more housing - and then we approve more office space - so, Golly...

This is crazy.


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Posted by JerryL
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Number one: We have GOT to fight ABAG and whatever State Laws created it and these quotas.
Two: To do this, we have GOT to vote in a City Council formed of folks who
pledge to fight ABAG and devote part of the city budget to do so.

Finally: I like shopping at Fry's, I like HAVING a Fry's handy in my own
town. Where will I go once it gets replaced by a mega apartment complex?
And, please don't say drive to Santa Clara. The roads will be too congested for that. And please don't say Fry's will move to xxx. It NEEDS a huge parking lot (which it has in the current location) and that parking lot is mostly full at all times. Relocating the entire package will be impossible. So it is time to FIGHT.


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Posted by JerryL
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm

"To assist with this onerous task, the city has appointed a new citizens group........."

How can a group like this get appointed without anyone hearing or reading anything about it in advance?


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm

"Failure to comply will leave the city liable to lawsuits and ineligible for housing grants, Planning Director Hillary Gitelman said Tuesday.

Great. Then let ABAG sue and FORGET about housing grants. We're over-crowded enough.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I am beginning to feel like Palo Alto is a punching bag. We seem to be the butt of all type of fantasy's and activity:
a. Some lady thinks that the Mitchell Park library and all libraries should be turned into homeless shelters;
b. We are the focal point for the homeless and downtrodden;
c. People from other communities continually feed in derogative comments - yet they must read this stuff every day - go figure;
d. The contractors see money balls rolling around - like bowling for dollars.
e. Stanford is holding creek water at the top of the creek causing damage down at the bottom of the creek - people's homes at risk.

- [Portion removed.] We have a respectable mix of people here but we are maxed out on space. We have representative groups but cannot support hole migrant inflow of people.

Bottom line is do not allow us to be a punching bag for a bunch of self interest groups who want to usurp all space for their causes.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

I was a member of the previous iteration of this group, and it was a 2-year exercise in futility and a waste of time.

Because of the ABAG "targets", there was no ability to even do the normal sort of planning activity (my experience goes back to the City's South El Camino study group of the mid-1990s).

What happened instead was that Staff identified "opportunities" for higher density housing, and the representatives of the residents attempted to get the most damaging ones off the list.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Palo Alto invites this piling on by ABAG because of its own land use and
zoning policies.The City has no credibilty in fighting ABAG. The Council
is caught up in its own reckless policies as this nightmare scenario
plays out.


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Posted by mry
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Yes, please provide a list of names on this citizens advisory!


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Posted by It's time for lawsuits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Robert,

"A fair way to settle this and for Palo Alto to not have to allow more housing to be built? Just take the revenues from the business taxes and send them to the cities that actually house the workers. Or do you want to have your cake and eat it too?"

Yes, PLEASE. I would gladly give away the business taxes, and send them to the cities that actually house workers.

So far, the business taxes do not add up, what is there to send?!. Palo Alto cannot even afford a building for the police. Palo Alto infrastructure plans are bike boulevards, and bus depots. Park improvements and landscaping. Oh I forgot, taxes go to City staff raises. Oh yes, all those business taxes really advantage us! And what about the bonds they ask residents to pay for?

By the way, do companies like Facebook or Google even pay taxes? And what about the ones who make no money?

It is about time we get to the bottom of what the state law is intending to do with some actual numbers. What on earth about jobs created (a good thing) justifies being what resident 1 calls the punching bag (a bad thing).

The real plan of course is allowing high rises, and breaking the 50 foot limit.

This gradual abuse by ABAG, lame Council and City government, and developers, will eventually make this plan feel natural. Of course.

Time to call it like it is. Punch bag is a mild term.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm

common sense raises an excellent point re architect Tony Carrasco ("pro-high speed rail") and Greg Tanaka ("voted for all the high density project". The only average citizen on the panel is Sherri Furman.

If you want to see the future of the Bay Area check out these two "visions":

1. 'Place-making' expert dazzles council with San Antonio plan'
Web Link

2. 'What adequate Google housing could look like'
Web Link


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Posted by llfried
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm

llfried is a registered user.

Obviously no one on the City Council reads "The Town Square." There are two steps to solving this housing problem.
The first is to vote out all the city council members.
The second it to tell ABAG to keep their money (illusory anyway) and sue the city. We can win in court!


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm

The entire Bay Area has had the same housing problem for at least the 15 years I've experienced for the same reason. There's not enough housing for the people who work here now, yet we continue to build more office space. There needs to be a moratorium on new office space, or at least a reduction until there is balance. Land zoned commercial or light industrial should be rezoned to residential. Sure, lots of companies want a Palo Alto address, but if they create good jobs further out, like Livermore or Gilroy, workers will follow.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Architect Ken Hayes builds eyesores. He is destroying the ambiance of Palo Alto. But he has an "in" with the Architectural Review Board. The ARB quickly rubber stamps all his developments. Someone needs to do an investigate report on why he is so liked by the ARB. Something is fishy.
Developers hire him to design their projects because they know he will get their developments quickly through the ARB. Ken Hayes needs to be run out of town. He is an untalented architect. He can't be allowed to continue with his destruction of Palo Alto.


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Posted by Too simple to fail
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Easy fix: annex Los Altos. Lots of housing, very few jobs.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:20 pm

This is exactly why it should not be city by city, it should be region by region, or county by county.

I read yesterday about public transportation usage in US is at its highest since the mid 50s and particularly among young people.

Why can't the housing be built in Half Moon Bay, Pacifica and get some decent high speed bus services between those cities and various Peninsula job meccas?

Why destroy our town as a punishment for having lots of jobs?


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Posted by It's time for lawsuits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Resident,

"Why destroy our town as a punishment for having lots of jobs?"

A lawsuit would answer that question.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 12, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I think we should figure out how many people working in Palo Alto support city, county, state, and federal organizations. That includes the school system. Yes - they work here but their organizations are paid for by the tax payers and we do not get any property tax on their facilities.

How many companies have corporate offices elsewhere - SSL is owned by a Canadian Company, banks have corporate offices out of the city. Those companies are paying corporate taxes at the top level, possibly to an eastern state.

Next we should figure out how many non-profit organizations are centered in Palo Alto. They are not paying any taxes. If the employees live elsewhere they are paying personal taxes at their own city / county level. We should not be on the hook for them.

Bottom line is that we should be evaluated on the number of homeowners, businesses that pay property taxes and income taxes. We should not be penalized at the city level for organizations that are getting a free ride at our expense.

My guess is that if you run up those numbers it is a large amount of acreage within the Palo Alto borders. We need to understand what is in our borders that we are on the hook for.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:29 pm

@Too simple to fail: No need to annex Los Altos. Last night (3/11) the Los Altos City Council approved a 4-story Hayes Group building on San Antonio Road. Apparently Hayes couldn't find enough plots in Palo Alto to despoil.


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Posted by Need some info
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm

We need the names of the members of this developers panel and the names of the organizations they represent.


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Posted by It's time for lawsuits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:02 pm

resident 1,

"Bottom line is that we should be evaluated on the number of homeowners, businesses that pay property taxes and income taxes. We should not be penalized at the city level for organizations that are getting a free ride at our expense."

A lawsuit would force a look at the numbers.


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Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm

It is pretty amazing how the developers (and their minions in government) have co-opted the rhetoric of the left (below market rate, very low income units, house the workers, etc) to promote their rapacious development agenda. Even more amazing... a few lefties are actually buying this thinly disguised self-promotional strategy.

Every one of the current Palo Alto City Council member must go. Clean Sweep!


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Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:12 pm

"How can a group like this get appointed without anyone hearing or reading anything about it in advance?"

Must be like that ad hoc group they put together during the Maybell debates to try to snow the citizenry. City Council just basically wanted to be able to say they tried and to make it seem like they involved the community. Perhaps we should coin a new phrase: "kangaroo engagement" or "kangaroo panel" like "kangaroo court".


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Posted by It's time for lawsuits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Ahem

"Every one of the current Palo Alto City Council member must go. Clean Sweep!"

I would keep Schmidt and maybe Holman. The rest are like polyester suits.

Palo Alto City Council is stuck in time. They fantasize about stuff like "new urbanism." See an article from 2006, and what Tony Carrasco and Pat Burt had to say about this "vitality movement."Web Link.

2006, and they still obsess with this "movement."

Compared to more current urban themes in the article "Where will you live in 2050?" by Parag Khana

"When it comes to managing such diverse risks with varying time horizons, national and municipal leaders must be proactive in deciding how to allocate resources and investments. Erwann Michel-Kerjan, director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of At War With the Weather, has developed a risk management framework emphasizing proactive investments in infrastructure and recovery mechanisms. The World Bank's new department devoted to promoting "urban resilience" focuses on urban water, energy and transportation systems as critical infrastructures that deserve maximum focus."

Web Link

Did I hear Burt scoff at a recent meeting when a speaker brought up water?


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:31 pm

There is no lack of housing in Palo Alto. Those who can afford to live here, live here. There is an oversupply of housing in Salinas and Tracy and Henderson, NV., etc. The question should be: How do we match the difference? My view is that high quality transit buses, traveling in dedicated lanes should be part of the answer. Another is to put more good quality jobs in those places, as part of a support system for the Silicon Valley...to include telecommuting and commute trains. Such support jobs will not pay enough to live in Palo Alto. Worse, it is absurd for Palo Alto to support welfare housing, when the those who live in it are not even proven to be support job workers.

Why is Palo Alto trying to commit social/economic suicide? Noblesse oblige? Liberal guilt? What is it, exactly?


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Posted by Marlen
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:33 pm

The comments on this and stories like it confirm our beliefs that boomers really are the greediest generation. Contempt for anyone less well off, envy and distain for anyone more so.

I have yet to understand the vitriol and hysteria caused by the thought of allowing newcomers into town, destroying the idyllic version of the city that only exists in your minds, but I can't say I'm not enjoying it, mouth foam and all.


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Posted by Marlen
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Craig Laughton, just remember when you say that nobody "deserves" to live in Palo Alto, that statement also applies to you.


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Posted by It's time for lawsuits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm


Marlen,

I hate to burst your bubble, but with the exception of a tiny few affordable units in the "newcomer" category (which may go to rich enough people anyway), the newcomers will mostly be extremely cash rich people.

You may want to check out what Spike Lee has to say about what is now termed as "super gentrification." Basically, the "balance" that Palo Alto has today will be irrevocably tipped to have less and less diversity.

At least by holding on tho this balance, you may preserve some diversity.

Not to mention, Buena Vista residents may be thrown out for a zoning transaction.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2014 at 7:31 am

>Craig Laughton, just remember when you say that nobody "deserves" to live in Palo Alto

If you can afford to pay market rates, then you deserve to live in Palo Alto. If and when I cannot afford to live here, I will move to where I can afford to live.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2014 at 9:33 am

Time for the state and ABAG to create new cities for the sole purpose of building homes in the New Urbanism.

City of Coastside.
City of Cupertino Hills.
City of Coyote.
City of Sunol.
City of Alma/Lextington.

Idea is to create low, medium and high density created around a village/town center connected by good rail/bus system.

Idea is to follow European urban planning rules, less U.S. car centered planning.

Even in Europe thay have single family homes which people prefer. They have good sized backyards, but not great big space all around, more homes per acre.


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Posted by Herb Borock
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 13, 2014 at 3:21 pm

At the February 13, 2014, City Council Regional Housig Mandate Committee, their was a discussion about the the Community Panel. Staff soliticed advice about the membership of the panel. Greg Scharff suggested the panel include a representative of a large busines like Palantir, while Gail Price suggested the panel include a representative of an affordable housing advocacy group that include developers of that kind of housing.

One of the staff reports for today's committee meeting includes the membership of the committee. Look at Page 8 here Web Link


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm

I was in the El Camino - Park Avenue quadrant today and it is full of apartments / duplexes, many with for rent signs. People who say there is no low cost housing do not know what they are talking about.

There is a large inventory of apartments but somehow they do not count. In this situation the only thing that counts is tearing down some existing building and building a new building. There has to be some involvement with a developer for all of this to work.

I think we need to develop the inventory of where all of the apartment houses are and number units. Once there is an inventory then people can determine where they need to be based on their budget.


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Posted by Pants on Fire
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm

They created the panel by inviting whom they wanted, and included 3-4 neighborhood representatives out of some 21.

All the housing developers are there: PA Housing Corp, Eden Housing, League of Women Voters Housing advocates, Tony Carrasco, Lydia Tan (built the senior housing at the JCC plus the big market rate development Eschalon near the JCC--just a little bonus for her company). She is housing advocate John Barton's wife,etc.

Developer Carrasco is in the category "Private Individual!"

Is this the cast for a Gilbert and Sullivan farce?

Long reports, lots of meetings, the City Manager gets to spend our money lavishly. Hard to understand how our city became so corrupt.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 14, 2014 at 6:08 am

When we moved here as a young family we had the Newcomer's Club, work related functions, school related and sports related functions. All of the people were integrating into the community with enthusiasm and social contact. We lived in an apartment in north PA until we had enough for a mortgage down payment. Everyone around was, and is congenial.

The new people on my block are integrating into their children's school functions and church functions. They are happy and socially adjusted. It is a congenial and happy group of people. The people who are moving here have a purpose and network support group.

I don't get what Marlen is talking about - Who specifically is Marlen referring to? Who is the group "our beliefs" that is being referred to?


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm

>Lydia Tan (built the senior housing at the JCC plus the big market rate development Eschalon near the JCC--just a little bonus for her company). She is housing advocate John Barton's wife,etc.

If true, that is disturbing.

Insider politics is alive and well in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park is the largest low income housing project in Palo Alto. Evicting the residents and tearing it down will exacerbate the existing jobs/housing imbalance.


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Posted by Pants on Fire
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2014 at 12:13 am

Correction - the market rate townhouses built by Lydia Tan's company near the JCC is called Altaire (not Eschalon which is on East Meadow)
Altaire's offices are at 3901 Fabian Way PA 94303
Web Link

Lydia Tan is or was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Bridge Housing, a major non-profit developer which also built the non-profit housing that is part of the JCC.
www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/print-edition/2012/05/18/lydia-tan-of-the-related-cos.html?page=all


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Posted by Steve Raney
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

From my standpoint and that of Jay Thorwaldson, both the "neighborhood protectionists" and the regional planners have valid arguments. It is interesting to observe the "within Palo Alto comments" versus the less sympathetic comments from regional observers of Palo Alto.

From the March 22, 2013 ClimateOne podcast:

Developer Carl Shannon laments that there are suburban cities with real-estate markets that will support dense transit oriented housing to minimize per-capita GHG. "You look at downtown Palo Alto. We could build 15 story condos on University Avenue. We could sell that out overnight. But there is no political will. Palo Alto has that living, thriving downtown that people want. It has office rents that are the highest in the Bay Area. So economically, the engine is there. But you have to find economic desire and political will."

Greg Dalton (host): "Gabe Metcalf, you have to presume that people in Palo Alto get climate change. They get the carbon imperative. And they'd like to solve the problem ... just not in their backyard. People are not willing to make personal tradeoffs for the common good."

Gabriel Metcalf (SPUR): "I don't think they do get it. Because I just can't believe that if people understood the impacts of their actions they would be making this choice that will be so murderous on future populations. If they understood, they would allow new residents to live in apartments in their city. I can't believe that human nature is bad - if they understood the impact of denying that [smart growth to protect the climate - the core of modern regional planning practice] then they would change their mind." "There is somehow the idea that you should not have to be inconvenienced by even seeing a new building within your line of sight. That is too much to ask for the sake of fighting climate change. I know they're not Republicans. I just don't know what it is."

Greg Dalton: "We got in here first and close the door after us." Dalton also quotes Paly High grad Peter Calthorpe's statements about NIMBYism opposing new residents based on class and race.

Web Link

And see also Jay Thorwaldson's article on Palo Alto's nation-leading jobs/housing imbalance: Web Link.

Point is that the regional planners have strong facts-based arguments that the neighborhood protectionsts disparage or ignore, when they should admit that both sides make valid points.


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Posted by Pants on Fire
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I've always wondered why the greenies don't advocate for family planning. Overpopulation is the major cause of crowding, pollution, traffic, etc etc etc.

Maybe it's just that there's money to be made promoting development. Not so much in birth control.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 15, 2014 at 5:01 pm

The comments above are obnoxious - S Raney. Greg Metcalf, Greg Dalton - Palo Alto is a suburb - not a major city. There is no major transportation line other than Caltrain. We are arguing over the best way to navigate the world of trash. The police department is looking for a new home. Growth projections are made with no defined assumptions as to how the numbers derived - all open ended. Sorry - not professional at all.

The so-called experts are gaming the system with guilt - guess what - it doesn't work.

They need to take themselves to San Jose who has a full set of transportation choices and getting more. Guess what - San Jose would not care what they thought.

If they appear as any consultants then they do not get my vote.


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Posted by Hildie of Bingen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Annexing Los Altos will just infuriate homeowners there because their property taxes will inflate. This happened between San Jose and part of Cupertino in the Fifites nd Sixties. Cupertino fought it and fought it, until finally in the mid-seventies Cupertino's property taxes had surpassed San Jose's and they got some tax relief by joining San Jose and changing their zip code from 95014 to 95129.

So maybe in the future, when Ken Hayes and the City Council have totally ruined Palo Alto for the residents, and property values decline, Los Altos will have higher taxes and want to annex to us for property tax relief!


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 15, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I invite people to go to Hwy 237 and First Street - if you want to know where the 1 million people will be it will be in North San Jose and the surrounding area. They are building a mega city with apartments, SAMSUNG's giant facility, a new Hilton Hotel, and bringing BART down to 101 then up to Santa Clara.

This works because they have the available undeveloped land, a good infrastructure for transportation, energy, and good waste management.

Compare to Palo Alto - we are now at the vulnerable position on the bay for flood control, our infrastructure is collapsing, we are dependent on 1 form of transportation - Caltrain. Everyone on this stream knows we are in trouble and does not like it. To imply that we do not get it is insulting. We get it, complain about it, but nothing happens.

What some people do not get is that we are part of Santa Clara County and there are other cities in this county that are working different issues. But North San Jose is now leading in the development arena. They have got very good cards now in this game.

Palo Alto has different cards - we have STYLE, history, a classy environment that they will not be able to duplicate. Enjoy what is there now - it is very good.


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Posted by what about legalizing in-laws
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 16, 2014 at 12:04 am

SF just legalized in-law units, adding to their affordable housing units count. This is something PA might want to do. We might as well get ABAG credit for preexisiting (but currently illegal) affordable housing units.


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